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Your personal guide to navigating through health care reform.


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low cost health insurance
OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and help with health care reform questions with two fast and free support options:

Online support:
OnlineNavigator
is an independent adviser service offering free online support about any health reform issue. OnlineNavigator is not acting as agent for any qualified health insurance marketplace and is not affiliated with any federal or state programs. This service is available online 24/7 through email and social media sites usually with same day response. See the web site for details on privacy policy and terms of service.

Telephone support:
Live sales agent support is available during business hours at (800) 609-0683.

Most Liberal Eligibility

Core Health Insurance - the nation's most popular defined benefit health plans with guaranteed acceptance from US Fire Insurance Company
Health plans for diabetics - a listing of the health plan options and other resources

Most Affordable

Value Med Insurance - 3 question simple medical eligibility and immediate approval for supplemental doctor and hospital benefits

Long Term Major Medical

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.
Celticare - well-known renewable individual major medical insurance for discriminating healthy applicants
Celtic Basic Health Insurance - a trim version of Celticare at a lower price
Celtic Saver HSA - Health Savings Account with qualifying high deductible insurance

Dental Insurance

Core Dental Insurance - preventive, basic, and major dental expenses with the dentist of your choice. Shortest waiting period.
Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage
Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance - no deductible option, use any dentist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, physician or audiologist, no networks!

Online Life Insurance

Smart Term Life Insurance - affordable term life insurance up to $350,000 issued same day with a direct online application. No exam, agent appointment or telephone verification required.
International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US

South Dakota affordable health insurance exchange and supplemental coverage

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, South Dakota had 17 commercial health insurance companies that offered individual major medical insurance and 15 small group health insurance plans as well as a state-sponsored South Dakota Risk Pool health plans for residents who have been declined for commercial health insurance. These standard health insurance plans may not be affordable to all residents.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses (with less than 50 employees) in South Dakota can now purchase health insurance through the federal heath insurance clearinghouse or through a number of privately operated insurance exchanges. The state government is likely to expand its own insurance exchange system in cooperation with either the federal or private systems within the next few years. Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information. This Web page lists some of the most popular low cost commercial health insurance plans and related benefits. Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance with any insurance exchange or health reform issue through www.OnlineNavigator.org . Please note that while many of these choices could be included in more than one of the suggested usage categories, each plan is listed only once for the sake of brevity. Your enrollment adviser is available to discuss suitability of any plan for your specific situation.

The state insurance exchange is expected to be online by October 2013 with coverage starting January 2014, so individuals without insurance should make arrangements for temporary coverage until then. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2014 will be different than those offered though any 2013 health plans. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here.

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits. Members Health Insurance Exchange handles pricing and direct online enrollment for many of the state's most popular commercial major medical insurance plans for individuals and families.



low cost health insurance

South Dakota insurance & benefit news

South Dakota had the 11th lowest health insurance costs of all states in 2008 with an average family premium of $11,382 per year. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 12th out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state has the 24th highest small business health insurance costs in the U.S. according to a 2010 Department of Health and Human Services report with an average premium of $957 per month for family coverage.
South Dakota regulates the benefits required for both individual major medical and group health insurance plans, known as "mandated benefits".

Short Term Insurance

Markel Smart STM - popular and affordable short term major medical insurance with fast online approval
Secure STM - along with its 12 month and 36 month options, this may be the highest quality short term coverage

Intermediate Term

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits

Supplemental Insurance

Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.
Value Access Guarantee - everyone qualifies for this plan that pays in addition to any other insurance


low cost health insurance

South Dakota insurance law and regulation

The South Dakota Division of Insurance Web site contains a link to the full text of the state's insurance laws, regulations and bulletins.  The Web site also contains a list of licensed health insurance companies but has not yet developed into a resource to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, supplemental insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (605) 773-3563 or by mail at 445 East Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is South Dakota Children's Health Insurance Plan.

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.

Telemedicine

CallMD - Doctors and nurses literally on call 24/7 to answer questions, help with medical screening and write prescriptions saving you money with the most common types of medical care. $20 per month covers everyone in the household.

International Coverage and Travel Insurance

South Dakota Insurance News

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

9/15/2013 The state of South Dakota extends rights of individuals under the age of 19 to apply for health insurance coverage during an annual open enrollment period. In accordance with the new provision, major medical insurance companies must offer children under the age of 19 coverage without regard to health status during the open enrollment period of July 1 through August 15. If you have an eligible child that meets the criteria above and would like to apply for a child-only plan, please get a quote online an apply in the usual manner but also tell your enrollment agent that you are applying under the state open enrollment period.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most South Dakota residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Wellmark of South Dakota and Dakotacare are the state's largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

7/27/2011 Parents are reminded that the children's' health insurance open enrollment period ends on Monday August 15 so applications should be submitted online before that date. See www.celticenrollment.com for information on Celtic Insurance individual health insurance plans.

6/6/2011 Open enrollment for children under age 19 with pre-existing medical conditions run from July 1 to August 14, 2011 for all health insurance plans operating in the state. Rates may be based on medical condition. Details are posted at http://dlr.sd.gov/reg/insurance/open_enrollment_kids.html .

Open enrollment Program information for Celtic Insurance Company information is available on the South Dakota insurance page at Celticenrollment.com.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called "Help Me Choose" lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

1/26/2011 The Minimum Loss Ratio for individual and small group insurance, other than exempted plans, is 80 percent for 2011 through 2014. This state requirement is more stringent than federal law. Read more on the effect of the Minimum Loss Ratio regulation.

1/19/2011 Child-only health insurance for children with significant medical problems will be available through an open enrollment period mandated by federal state law under new rules developed by the state. All children, regardless of medical condition, continue to be eligible for insurance when applying as a dependent on a parent’s policy and healthy children are eligible for child-only insurance at any time. When applying for child-only insurance for more than one child, make a separate application for each child.

12/16/2010 State officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, South Dakota said that it would: 1) Determine if the State will choose a State-based Exchange or elect a federally administered Exchange, 2) Catalog and review existing data sources to glean pertinent information regarding the uninsured, the insurance market, and small businesses, 3) Update a State-specific survey to include: a) The demographics of insured and uninsured populations, b) Eligibility of uninsured for employer based converge or Medicaid and reasons for not enrolling in creditable coverage, c) Eligibility of uninsured for subsidies through the Exchange, and d) The marketing methods needed to encourage individuals to purchase insurance through the Exchange.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in South Carolina is now available at Freedom Benefits.

3/23/2010 South Dakota and ten other states including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington will make a joint legal challenge to the federal health reform bill on the basis that it improperly usurps state sovereignty over health insurance and that requiring health insurance is an illegal and improper government action.

3/1/2010 State Bill 137 has been proposed to nullify federal health care reform laws within the state.



editorial information
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This Web site is independently owned and operated by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.